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Governance and Anti-Corruption

Botswana among World’s Least Corrupt

Botswana has again been rated among the world’s least corrupt countries, according to Berlin-based Transparency International in its 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In the survey, Botswana was listed among the top 20 per cent of countries considered to be least corrupt and was also ranked as the least corrupt middle income country in the world as well as the least corrupt country in Africa.

The Transparency International index defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain, and measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among a country's public officials and politicians. It is a composite index, drawing on 16 surveys from 10 independent institutions, which gathered the opinions of business people and country analysts.

This year’s overall score for Botswana (5.9) and global ranking (32) remain the same as in 2004 and places it above nine European Union countries included in the survey.

November 2005

Ethical Reporting

CNN and Interims for Development partner to promote responsible coverage of Ghana’s elections

The role of the media in educating and informing the public as well as in keeping Africa’s democratic representatives accountable in the process of development is critical.  For journalists to report responsibly and effectively, there is a recognised need for continuous training to ensure best practice in journalistic ethics and in the techniques and practices of good reporting.

ImageFor CNN, a leading broadcaster with a major presence in Africa, the recent political elections in Ghana offered an opportunity to contribute to the development of journalistic skills and ethics. Sally Perry, Head of the Community Engagement Programme at Turner Broadcasting System Europe, the European arm of CNN’s parent company, turned to Interims for Development to develop a concept for implementing a CSR project in Ghana.

In collaboration with Turner/CNN, Interims for Developmentdeveloped the concept of a one-day Journalism Workshop entitled ‘Election Coverage in Africa, Lessons learnt with Jeff Koinange’The Workshop, which was sponsored by CNN via Turner's Community Engagement Programme, offered a rare opportunity for Ghanaian journalists to engage with seasoned journalist, Jeff Koinange, to address the challenges of reporting on political elections in Africa and with specific reference to the impending elections in Ghana.

As CNN’s bureau chief in Lagos, Jeff Koinange is responsible for coordinating all news output from West Africa and also for covering events throughout the rest of the African continent.   With an illustrious journalistic career, Koinange, a Kenyan, joined CNN in 2001 and has reported extensively across Africa.  Among the electoral milestones which Koinange has reported are Sierra Leone's first presidential elections held in May 2002, following a decade of civil war, Zimbabwe's last presidential elections and the Zambian elections in 2001.  Prior to joining CNN, Koinange worked for Reuters and reported on the election of Thabo Mbeki in 2000.

 The one-day workshop, held in Accra in mid-November, and opened by the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, was attended by senior and junior editors and reporters from print, radio and television. 

Participants covered a wide range of topics including social commentary and journalistic ethics, conflict prevention in election coverage and maintaining national rather than partisan interest.  Editing and writing techniques were addressed as well as the challenge of meeting deadlines during election coverage.  Participants were also shown selected video clippings by Koinange from a number of elections he had previously covered.

“The event was a big success”, confirmed Sally Perry, who has successfully overseen CSR projects in the UK since the recent creation of her department. 

While Turner has a well-established community engagement programme in the USA, this workshop provided an opportunity for its European arm to demonstrate the breadth of its commitment to engaging with its market globally and, in particular, within Africa.

Combating Money Laundering

Interims for Development recently linked up with the National Banking College in Ghana to address this challenge.

Described as the world’s third largest industry, the World Bank Group estimates that at least US$1 trillion is laundered annually around the world, while the International Monetary Fund puts the figure at between 2% and 5% of the world's gross domestic product.


Money laundering - the process by which criminals attempt to conceal the true origin and ownership of the proceeds of their criminal activity - is conducted by the by the use of increasingly sophisticated methods for moving funds across borders.  The economic and social impact of money laundering is particularly devastating for developing countries with vulnerable financial systems, damaging the reputation of respected institutions and creating a barrier to foreign direct investment.

With awareness of the problem being the first step towards its solution, Interims for Development in collaboration with the National Banking College of Ghana, a leading training institution for banks and the financial sector in West Africa, held a seminar in June 2004 entitled ‘Understanding and Combating Money Laundering’.  The three day event which took place in Accra, Ghana, was designed to introduce delegates to the regulatory frameworks in place in developed countries, to identify methods of money laundering and its application in Africa and to offer practical advice in developing strategies and approaches to combat money laundering. 

The seminar, which was designed to be interactive and participatory and to enable delegates to share experiences and develop action plans for their own institutions, was facilitated by David Swanney, a British Chartered Accountant and experienced banking regulator, and an Interim Manager with Interims for Development.

As the author of the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group's revision of money laundering guidance notes and with 20 years experience at the Bank of England and, latterly, the Financial Services Authority, David was able to share his expertise in the area with over 30 delegates from a range of Ghanaian banks and financial institutions as well as the Ministries of Finance and Justice and the National Security Service. 

"For good or ill, whether justified or not, West Africa has a reputation that appears to attract money launderers”

In David’s experience, the seriousness of the subject cannot be overstated.  "Money laundering, whether it is linked to drugs or terrorism, or whether it is the processing of more mundane 'everyday' crime, affects us all, “he says.  “It affects the stability and reputation of countries, the credibility of financial systems, and the reputation (and financial soundness) of individual firms in the financial sector.  It is no respecter of borders or jurisdictions, but will naturally gravitate towards those countries where awareness of the issue, business standards, staff training – and, in some cases, the lack of political will to tackle the issue - is low”. 

Poor infrastructure and communication systems and a widespread distrust of banking systems all contribute to the difficulties of implementing effective money laundering measures in Africa.  The widely prevalent cash and carry economy, where large cash transactions are common, provides a great advantage to money launderers. 

Despite the efforts by African governments to combat money laundering, widespread poverty makes it difficult to effectively police money laundering, while ongoing and often systemic corruption acts as a further constraint.

However, developing countries who fail to meet international standards in anti-money laundering measures could suffer a loss of revenue as companies in countries that do meet these standards become increasingly reluctant to do business.  Failing to control money laundering also creates vulnerability for countries in Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world, in relation to narcotics trafficking and international terrorism.

"For good or ill, whether justified or not, West Africa has a reputation that appears to attract money launderers” says David.  “We all need to do what we can to raise awareness of the issue in this region, and to share our experiences in establishing systems and approaches to combat this destabilising activity.”

Since 2002, David has worked with the British Bankers' Association on money laundering prevention and accounting issues and, with this seminar, was able to address the key issues of how to identify money laundering, provide case studies on how it is conducted, as well as guidance and advice on training staff and communicating anti-money laundering to customers.

“Developing countries who fail to meet international standards in anti-money laundering measures could suffer a loss of revenue”

In common with other professionals who have offered their professional services to Interims for Development, David did not hesitate to take on the assignment when he was approached by the organisation.  As he admits, “I was very pleased to learn of Interims’ activities in this area, and to be asked to lead the seminar in Ghana to share the UK’s experience with these issues.”

Reporting on Elections in Africa
Honing the skills of Uganda’s 4th Estate

ImageAccording to Edmund Burke, there were three Estates running the country in his time: the priesthood, the aristocracy and the Commons, all of whom could be found within Parliament.  The fourth Estate, he said, could be found in the Reporter’s Gallery but was, however, “more important than they all”. 

Burke’s opinion of the power of the media and its impact on democracy remains true today.The mass media is often regarded as the guardian of democracy, defending as it does the right to free speech and the public interest.  This fourth power is responsible for checking and balancing the three democratic powers of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary and is critical to the security and stability of a nation, particularly the developing democracies of Africa.

The media has a significant role in the run up to and during elections.  Prompted by the increasing challenges for the media in Africa, the Uganda-based Foundation for African Democracy (FAD) and the Human Resources and Training organisation, Interims for Development, developed and held a media training programme in Kampala in July 2006 entitled “Challenges of Elections Reporting in Africa”.

Sponsored by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and Working Plus, a UK based training and skills organisation, the two-day programme provided an opportunity for over 40 media practitioners in Uganda to come together to share experiences of reporting in the recent elections in Uganda and to address the challenges of promoting and sustaining democratic institutions in Africa through responsible reporting. 

“Helping Voters to Make Intelligent Decisions”

Opening the programme with a review of the state of Uganda’s media, pioneer journalist, Dr Peter Mwesige, stressed the indispensable role that the country’s media plays.  “The news media is not like any other business.  They are the main sources of information for a majority of the people and they play an important watchdog role,” he said.

Mwesigwe, the founder of Uganda’s Crusader newspaper and now head of Mass Communications at Makerere University, observed that in elections, “the news media are expected to play the role of thought stimulation, explaining and informing in order to help voters make intelligent decisions on the basis of knowledge.” 

ImageHe urged the participants to go beyond personalities at election time and to frame stories “in a way that interrogates the issues, verifies campaign claims and promises and analyses candidate records.” Noting that the information revolution and commercial considerations have profoundly changed the environment in which today’s editor works, Mwesige suggested that today’s diversity of news sources has put new market pressures on journalists and has adversely impacted on the content and quality of journalism practiced.

“The growing power of marketing in the media business has in most cases meant that a lot more money is now invested in market research, brand audits, promotions and the like, than in good journalism,” he commented.  “There is little investment in the kind of journalists that can penetrate the complex issues of our times.  How can we have quality journalism without quality journalists?” 

Analysing the recent elections held in Uganda, Mwesige described the overall tenor of reportage as having “little analytical rigour, investigative depth, insight, context, synthesis and perspective.”  He called on news organisations to introduce more mentoring programmes as, he said, “younger journalists need senior colleagues who can pat them on the back, point out gaps in their stories and generally inspire them to do better.”  The challenges are many, he said, “but we can get it right.”

Reporting from Conflict Zones

ImageNew Vision’s Senior Reporter, Emmy Allio, is a veteran of reporting from violence prone areas.  Leading a lively session covering safety guidelines for reporters, Allio highlighted the pressures on journalists during political and electoral campaigns.  “Electoral campaigns are unpredictable,” he said.  “It requires plodding, working, getting ready for something that may not happen and, most of all, responding with fast action when something important takes place.”

Allio has covered conflicts and wars in Sudan, Rwanda and the DRC for publications including The Monitor, the Daily Topic and The New Vision in Uganda.  He cautioned the participants that media houses have been slow to develop conflict reporting skills training, often gambling on which journalist to deploy when conflict erupts.

Allio shared a number of basic rules and tips from the Peru guidelines, a set of internationally acclaimed standards for reporters on dangerous assignments that was formulated at a gathering of the Inter-American Press Association in Lima. 

“You are more important than the story,” he said.  “No story is worth your life.  If you are clearly threatened, get out as fast as you can.”  Touching on the key rules and guidelines, he advised the media present never to carry a weapon, to learn about the country they are covering and know the terrain, resist abuse and never masquerade as someone else.   He warned against working for intelligence agencies and to avoid reporting from both sides of a conflict, if possible. 

“It is not just dangerous, but also unprofessional to cover elections from only one side.”

Allio recommended that journalists covering conflict areas should always carry a press card and a white flag and mark their car to indicate their profession.  “Keep an active mind regarding risks,” he cautioned.  “In dangerous situations, all you have are your wits and knowledge of the area.  Your editor and the Geneva Convention (which covers you in war situations) normally can’t help you.  Never antagonise your contacts in war zones or criticize the person who is responsible for your security.”

Taking a partisan position can also put a journalist at risk, said Allio.  “Avoid taking part in arguments and heated debates concerning elections.  Balance your coverage.  It is not just dangerous, but also unprofessional to cover elections from only one side.”  Providing balanced coverage along ethnic and tribal lines is critical during election coverage and he highlighted the need to mention ethnicity or religion only where it is relevant to the story.  Truth comes in many forms as Allio pointed out.  “Provide context, not just coverage of events.  Factual accuracy in a story is no substitute for the total truth.” 

Allio has covered various forms of conflict since 1992 and during his session shared some of his trials and experiences with those present.  “Surviving elections and war is about courage, wit, knowledge and professionalism.  It is incumbent upon the individual journalist to equip himself with relevant knowledge about the situation and handle stories with scrupulous professionalism.”

Elections in Uganda

Since the liberalisation of Uganda’s airwaves in 1993, the media has blossomed and there are now over a hundred radio stations around the country.  In February 2006 Uganda held its first national presidential and parliamentary elections under a multiparty political system in 20 years. This historical landmark proved a stern test for the role of the media as the provider of strategic information and a forum for political debate.

Commenting on the ethics of media reports and the requirements to observe the principles of truth, accuracy and fairness, Adolf Mbaine of Makerere University observed that ethics posed a big challenge to the media, “as journalists across various spectra often see ethics as an annoying inconvenience.”

The Uganda Bureau Chief of the East African newspaper, Daniel Kalinaki, described his coverage of the recent elections in Uganda as “three months of frenetic, inspiring, back-breaking and professionally-rewarding work.”

Using Opinion Polls

ImageAddressing the session on how journalists should cover opinion polls, Kalinaki spoke of the challenges of undertaking, analysing and presenting polls during such a charged period.

At the time the Associate Editor (Politics) of the Daily Monitor, Kalinaki’s paper commissioned three polls prior to the elections.  “We found out, right from the first poll, that none of the parties was willing to accept a poll result that did not put them far ahead of the competition”, he said, pointing out that their credibility had been sustained by using a transparent methodology and naming the pollsters.

Kalinaki touched on how factors such as sample size, demographics and transparency can affect polling and the importance of reporting the stories behind the figures.  From his own experience, he noted that polls do not, under normal circumstances, considerably change people’s voting intentions but that journalists should look at opinion polls as tools to inform their readers and help them make educated decisions.

“Opinion polls, assuming they are free of bias, are one way through which journalists can provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing,” he added.  “In spite of the difficulties, the public opinion survey, correctly conducted, is still the best objective measure of the state of the views of the public.”

Keeping Democracy Accountable

The two-day programme was closed by the Chairman of the Uganda Electoral Commission, Dr. Badra Suleiman Kiggundu, who thanked the organisers and urged the participants to undertake some critical self-evaluation.

“The role of the media in the dissemination of news is critical for an accountable and sustainable democracy,” he said.  “The recent elections were a new chapter and a challenge for Uganda.” 

ImageDr. Kiggundu, whose organisation is responsible for the organisation and conduct of free and fair elections in the country, reminded those present that elections are processes that go beyond polling day and that the media should reflect that.  He urged the delegates to remember the points raised in the training programme and that despite the pressures they face, “when you leave here, please don’t lose steam.”

We’ve learned a lot; what to do and what not to do.”

Feedback from participants at the end of the intensive programme was extremely positive.  “I’ve really benefited a lot from it,” said Radio One Reporter Zaida Ramadhan.  “We’ve really gained an insight into a lot of areas and next time we’ll be well equipped and know what to do and what not to do.”

Image“The event was a great success,” confirmed Vincent Kalimire, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for African Democracy, co-organisers of the event.  “The level of discussion and interaction was high and participants had a rare opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners in their field.”            

In Africa today, the media practitioner wields enormous power and, with the ability and opportunity to inform and to influence people, what they write or say is often what counts.  As Edmund Burke said, “it matters not what rank he has, what revenues or garnitures: the requisite thing is that he have a tongue which others will listen to; this and nothing more is requisite.”

For further information about this article or media training in Africa, contact editor@reconnectafrica.com

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